Testing Ford Truck Mods, One at a Time

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Ford Truck Mods

Fascinating FTE build aims to provide valuable data on individual mods.

The appeal of adding mods to your Ford truck is quite simple. Most likely, you’re in search of more power or better fuel economy. Maybe you just want some extra convenience or a better sound. Typically, we make modifications to our trucks in multiples, with a laundry-like wishlist of parts in the pipeline. But when you add on several things at once, do you really know what each individual mod is giving you?

It would be nice to know exactly how each modification affects your Ford truck. And whether or not it’s worth the money, right? That’s the idea behind Ford Truck Enthusiasts member DIYMechanic and his latest thread. To take a Ford truck, in this case a 1997 F-350, add one mod at a time, and then test the results. Simple, yet brilliant.

“I’m like a lot of you in that I am doing the mods to my truck step by step. I can’t afford to do everything I want to do all at once. So like most guys, I am building the truck one step at a time. 

With this in mind, I’m starting a new thread for the purposes of tracking the results of the modifications I am making to my truck step by step. We will go one mod at a time (as much as possible) and track the modifications and their results one step at a time. I’m doing this on a somewhat limited budget so I have to be reasonable here, but I thought this would be a cool way to track the results of making one mod at a time.

Ford Truck Mods

My thoughts are as follows. Start with as much a stock setup as possible, add one mod at a time, and track the results by hitching to the same load and pulling it over the same course while watching the results. I will track boost numbers, EGT, and log data with the Torque Pro app so we can dig into the data as much as possible. I won’t be tracking fuel mileage with these tests because it seems to me there are too many variables that go into affecting these numbers. 

The baseline of this test will be my ’97 F-350 CCLB 4×4, manual.”

The truck is mostly stock to begin with, with a few caveats.

“The truck is already intercooled (6.0 plastic tank IC) and has e-fuel (DIY kit with a Super Duty pump). I can eliminate the intercooler and run a set of tests with that configuration if anyone wants to see those results. 

Exhaust is the stock 3.5″ system fed through the stock turbo (EBPV intact) and a 3″ downpipe. Actually, I think I have the stock cobra head DP lying around somewhere (in one piece). If I could get that back in there without jacking up the cab, it would be cool to document those results too if anybody wanted to see them. I think I also have a stock cat (not on the truck) that I could put on there if someone wanted to see what effect that has.

Intake/air is a 6637 filter and the stock turbo with a stock wheel. If somebody has a stock airbox and filter they want to send me to try, I’d be happy to run that as well and report the numbers. 

More or less, I can make this as close to a stock truck as possible except for the fuel system (which won’t really have an effect on the performance at stock levels). 

PCM calibration as of right now is stock.”

Ford Truck Mods

With a good baseline set, the OP has a list of modifications in mind.

“The end results of this process (current goal) will be:
-Rosewood diesel stage 1 160/0 injectors
-Hydra programmer with custom tunes for stage 1s from Andrew Arthur 
-Diamond eye 4 or 5″ straight pipe exhaust (with a 3″ downpipe)
-Stock turbo (for now) with a Riffraff diesel GenII billet wheel and the stock housing

I think the best course of action would be to take the truck from as close to stock as possible through the following progression:
-Add 6637 filter
-Add straight pipe exhaust
-Possibly add mild tune for stock injectors
-Billet turbo wheel 
-17* Super Duty high pressure oil pump
-Stage 1 injectors and tune
-Turn it up until we either start to over spool the stock turbo or the clutch slips.”

Ford Truck Mods

The idea for the build is not to make the 201,000 mile truck into a drag racer, but rather a reliable work horse. The OP lives on a farm and takes several family camping trips throughout the year. So, obviously, he needs something that can tow a trailer with ease. Not to mention not break down on him in the middle of nowhere.

Unfortunately, work began in earnest but ended with a new problem – leaky exhaust manifolds. So now the OP is planning on sorting out that issue before moving on to the mods. He also promises to post videos documenting the installation of each part, which should prove incredibly helpful. The parts are rolling in as we speak for this interesting Ford truck project. So be sure and follow along with the journey here!

Brett Foote is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other sites.

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